France star is unsure who the Socceroos are but maintains they respect the side
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Olivier Giroud admits the French aren't too familiar with the Socceroos squad ahead of their opening clash at the 2022 World Cup.
Despite claiming the reigning World Cup-holders haven't even studied their upcoming Aussie opponents, the cult hero front man insists they're not underestimating them – and there's a good reason for that.
A heavily-depleted France squad heads to Qatar to defend their World Cup title, taking on Graham Arnold's Australia in their first test in Group D.
But this wouldn't be the first time the French have locked horns with the Aussies in the early stages of a World Cup.
Before going on to lift the Jules Rimet trophy in 2018, the French battled to a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Australia in their group match – a cruel VAR decision gifting the soon-to-be-champions a penalty.
Four years on and that nail-biter is still clearly fresh in the memory for some – perhaps not Giroud, though.
“I don’t know if they have exactly the same squad as 2018. To be honest with you we have not yet studied the team because we are still five, six days from the game,” Giroud told Fox Sports.
“So we will watch it with a lot of attention, the videos, to be ready.
“But obviously we know they are a tough team, they defend really well, they play with a lot of aggression and generosity and they have talented players, a lot of players playing in Europe.
“That first game in 2018 was very difficult to win... we felt relief after that. There is no easy game and we really respect this team and we know how important it is to start the competition well so we will do our best and try to play our best football.”
Australia coach Arnold, on the other hand, Coach Graham Arnold says the Socceroos are at the World Cup in Qatar to win, not just merely make up the numbers.
"In the past, obviously qualification has been a success," he told AAP.
"But we have only ever won two games in the history of the World Cup, one in 2006 against Japan and one in 2010 against Serbia.
"So I am going to Qatar to win games.
"And to put a smile on everyone's faces in Australia because this tournament can help re-unite the country after everything that we have gone through with COVID.
"We have to come out like the old days of the boxing kangaroos, we're the boxing Socceroos.
"Australia is known for loving the fight, loving the battle, and the DNA of 'backs to the wall, come out fighting'.
"That is the type of stuff that Australia as a country is known for. And it's no different for this."